24 July 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems demand GP rescue plan as one in six left waiting two weeks for appointment
  • Rhodes Fires: Call to protect holidaymakers by adding to no travel list

Lib Dems demand GP rescue plan as one in six left waiting two weeks for appointment

  • One in six (16.5%) GP appointments had waits of two weeks or more over past year
  • The South West was the worst-affected region with one in five (20%)
  • Liberal Democrats call for GP rescue plan over summer including campaign to urge retired GPs to return back to work

One in six GP appointments over the past year involved waits of two weeks or more, House of Commons Library commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The figures show the length of time between when a GP appointment was booked and when it took place, with data covering the year to May 2023.

The data shows the South West was the worst-affected region with one in five GP appointments taking place two weeks after being booked over the year. Gloucestershire (24.6%) and Dorset (23.6%) were the top two worst areas for two-week waits in the country. This was more than double the 9.2% of two-week waits in Liverpool.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Health Secretary Steve Barclay to launch a GP rescue plan over the summer, including a campaign to urge retired GPs back to the workforce.

It comes after the party’s successful by-election campaign iin Somerton and Frome. The newly elected Lib Dem MP Sarah Dyke campaigned hard on the issue of access to GP appointments in Somerset.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a new right for patients to see a GP within a week, or within 24 hours if in urgent need. This would be achieved by increasing the number of GPs by 8,000.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey commented:

The Conservative government’s neglect of our local health services is having real consequences for so many. People unable to get a GP appointment are being left waiting in pain, anxious about when they will get the care they deserve.

This week the people of Somerton and Frome spoke for the whole country. They are fed up with this failing government and fed up with ministers who just don’t get it or don’t care.

Conservative ministers must listen for once and come up with a plan to tackle the GP crisis before Parliament returns. That should include a recruitment campaign over the summer to encourage retired GPs back to work.

Ministers should also back the Liberal Democrat plan to guarantee everyone a GP appointment within seven days for a first appointment, or 24 hours if it’s urgent. Anything less would be failing patients up and down the country.

Rhodes Fires: Call to protect holidaymakers by adding to no travel list

  • Thousands of tourists and residents in Rhodes in panic at wildfires
  • Liberal Democrats lead calls for the temporary addition of Rhodes to the red-list
  • Layla Moran calls for end to uncertainty for holidaymakers out of pocket as insurance companies refuse to pay up

Liberal Democrats are calling for an immediate addition of Rhodes to the Red List list of places the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel, to ease the cost being felt by families caught up in this tragic emergency.

It comes as Foreign Office Minister Andrew Mitchell admitted this morning that he wouldn’t fly out to Rhodes at this time.

The Government is yet to temporarily designate Rhodes as a Red List country, making it harder for thousands of tourists, looking to get a refund for their trips to Rhodes under their travel insurance.

Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Layla Moran commented:

As wildfires blaze and thousands are evacuated, it is staggering that the Foreign Office travel guidance for Rhodes does not advise against all but essential travel.

Thanks to Conservative ministers’ inaction, many families are unable to make a claim against their insurance – leaving them paying the penalty for deciding not to fly out to the island.

The Government urgently needs to get a grip and help holiday makers who have been impacted by these terrible scenes.

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This entry was posted in News and Press releases.


  • One thing that has been overlooked is that some surgeries have cut down on waiting times by making it extremely difficult for anyone to book an appointment in the first place.
    My local surgery has done this by getting rid of the ability to book online and limiting the number of people answering the phone so that you have to wait on the phone for nearly an hour to book an appointment.

  • My GP never introduced the option of booking online, and they refuse to give appointments more than one week in advance (often not even that), so if there are no appointments left you have to phone back the next day. You have to be very motivated to even try to see a GP around here.

    While I have sympathy for holiday-makers caught up in the wildfires in Rhodes and elsewhere, too much of the media coverage is seeing it through the eyes of inconvenienced tourists, with little regard for the people whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed.

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